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China Government Privacy

12 Days In Xinjiang - China's Surveillance State ( 132

Long-time Slashdot reader b0s0z0ku writes: China has turned Xinjiang, the Northwestern part of the country surrounding Urumqi, into one of the most advanced surveillance states in the world. Officially, the purpose is to prevent terrorism and control resistance to the government in one of the few parts of China where ethnic Chinese are a minority.

From routine use of facial recognition cameras, to police checkpoints where people's cell phones randomly are checked for unauthorized software, to needing to swipe an ID card and be photographed to buy gasoline and other necessities, the level of technology — and control — is frightening and awe-inspiring.

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12 Days In Xinjiang - China's Surveillance State

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  • Then you are safe.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    the level of technology — and control — is frightening and awe-inspiring.

    If it's frightening and you still find that awe-inspiring, there's something wrong in your fucking brain.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k ( 829181 )

      How is it worse that the USA's mysterious "no-fly" lists or the TSA groping everybody who wants to travel somewhere in the USA?

      • Re:Awe-inspiring? (Score:4, Informative)

        by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @01:11PM (#55800753)

        How is it worse that the USA's mysterious "no-fly" lists or the TSA groping everybody who wants to travel somewhere in the USA?

        In its scope, if nothing else. Checkpoints every couple hundred yards, mass examination of cell phones, forbidden apps, entry/exit of the region strictly controlled and recorded, etc. TSA has nothing approaching this, and it's limited mostly to airports (although it's showing up increasingly at other transportation hubs). And this is only the beginning. China is working its way toward a system of scoring all of its citizens regarding their social value, kind of like a FICO score except encompassing one's entire life and social interactions. The score will in part determine your qualification for good jobs, housing, credit, etc. It's positively diabolical in that one's associations with others enters into the score, so there'll be a penalty if you hang around with folks who have low-scores, meaning society itself will be enlisted in assuring conformance to whatever code authorities want enforced.

      • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @01:26PM (#55800829) Journal

        > How is it worse that the USA's mysterious "no-fly" lists

        There are two lists called "no-fly" lists. One is an actual list of people not allowed to fly on US airlines. It includes a couple hundred people who have been actively involved in plotting hijackings and that sort of thing.

        The other list, thousands of people (out of 300 million) are people whom the FBI wants to talk to before they leave the country, or enter the country. It applies to international flights.

        There are a bunch of listed people the FBI wants to talk to if they try to come into the US. How is that different from everyone having to show ID and be tracked by the government every time they buy gas, you ask.

        There are, of course, legitimate concerns about these lists. The FBI should probably be more transparent about them. By pretending it's the same thing as the government tracking everything all citizens do, one sounds quite silly and tends to encourage readers to see criticism of the FBI lists as silly in general. It's like comparing red-light cameras to Nazi concentration camps - the comparison is so ridiculous that it undermines the argument against red-light cameras.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A relative tried to fly to the USA as he occasionally did. Got told at the gate that he was on the no fly list and couldn't go. He was confused, and arguing got him nowhere. He was leaving but went back and asked if there was an age for the person who was on the list. It was something like 25, and he 60ish, said "do I look 25?". They said no, and let him fly.

          Captcha: circus

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        How is it worse that the USA's mysterious "no-fly" lists or the TSA groping everybody who wants to travel somewhere in the USA?

        I noticed the other day that all forms of non-local travel in the US including buses and trains now require government approved identification. The exceptions are taking a private vehicle in which case you need a driver's license if you drive or walking.

  • by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @11:47AM (#55800405)

    Low trust, high tech society => surveillance society.

    This is the future you choose.

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @01:05PM (#55800727) Homepage
      This isn't about multiculturalism in general, many of us are perfectly happy trusting and working with people from other cultures. Blaming this on multiculturalism when what one is really talking about is dominant groups reacting to multiculturalism is akin to a domestic abuser who after punching their spouses says "see what you make me do."
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        I live in an actual multi-cultural country, people who do not live in an actual multi-cultural country do not understand them at all. Basically multi-cultural does not mean pockets of differing cultures in different zones, that is not it at all. Multi-culture is you the individual, picking from the bits of culture representing to create your own individual culture that you share with others, there might be one culture that more represents you and that culture you in a way promote a bit more than the others.

    • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @01:07PM (#55800737) Journal
      91% of China is ethnic Han Chinese and it's all being surveilled and firewalled pretty heavily. The worst surveillance state I can think of is North Korea, which is even more ethnically pure.

      I thought it would have been obvious that what breeds a surveillance state is the *state* who runs it, not the ethnicity of the people. But these days, I guess attacking Communism isn't enough - the core values of our nation must be assaulted as well.
      • Sure, but the story makes the point that it's worst in that region. By multiculturalism and communism combined we get Xinjiang.

        It's also true that China itself turned the region multicultural, but that's still not a ringing endorsement of multiculturalism.

        • And with monoculturalism we get Pyongyang.... Your assertions are bold, but your examples are weak, and I've yet to see any serious reasoning.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The US is one of the most diverse, multicultural countries on earth. Okay, they do have a powerful domestic surveillance programme too, but are definitely more free than the Chinese.

    • China realizes they need to keep radical Islam in check. Make it so inconvenient that they move back to their own shitty countries. After fleeing said shitty countries the first thing they do is make the new country more like the one they just left.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 )

        Their own shitty countries? The Muslims of Xinjiang are Chinese, and their ancestors have been Chinese for thousands of years.

    • To steal an infamous line from Chateau Heartiste/Roissy: "diversity + proximity = war."

      Identity politics is just the first stage as every non-white minority trends toward cohesive identity groups if they aren't already.

      The old order was based on a simple formula:

      1. At least 80% white majority.
      2. 20% or so minorities and tolerance for diversity because it was really just "cultural flavor."
      3. Minorities can be separate ethnoi when they want to be, but whites cannot.

      Now that the white majority is demographical

      • by jrumney ( 197329 )

        Identity politics is just the first stage as every non-white minority trends toward cohesive identity groups if they aren't already.

        I'm curious as to why you exclude white minorities from that statement. Do you perhaps think there is something special about the identity of white people that makes them immune to such identity politics?

  • Terrorism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @11:50AM (#55800411)

    The greatest thing to happen to those in power. The perfect blank check to get the public to agree to slavery.

  • We in the West... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 24, 2017 @11:55AM (#55800433)

    think we are immune to this, but's it's being rolled out in the form of collusion between corporations and government. Almost every adult in the West carries a mobile phone--a veritable electronic leash. We "allow" ourselves to be tracked constantly, manipulated by ads, all in the name of "free" services and conveniences. How long before the aforementioned collusion turns ugly? How long before we have a National ID card in the US? There are already random stops along certain highways in the US. Whatever happened to free, unmolested travel? How long before we hear "Papers, please."

    Google and other tech companies are literally sucking the privacy out of the air. Wait... that's already happened. How long before ordering a pizza really is a matter of convincing the pizza company you really want pepperoni and sausage, but because they are "jacked in" to the system, they advise you your cholesterol is too high and add a surcharge and then report you to your insurance company.

    The only way to win is to not play the game.

    My own employer has started the nonsense of requiring annual physicals and nicotine tests. Failure to comply results in two monthly penalties of $50 for each. I refused and will happily pay the penalty. My employer has no right to know about my cholesterol levels, my blood sugar, etc. The draconian system is coming, but we're the frogs in a slowly heating pot of water. Most of us are too stupid to realize it's coming.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My employer does the same thing. I also refused and pay the penalty. I told them that I am considering it a pay cut and it will be taken into consideration as such when evaluating my current position against other opportunities.
    • by dargaud ( 518470 )

      How long before we have a National ID card in the US?

      I've always failed to see the common point between an ID card and a surveillance society. A card is necessary for your interactions with your gov. Even in the US without officially having one, you still have one in practice, but it's worse because it's an insecure mash-up, part driver's license, part SSID number, leading to a fuckton of identity theft. We've had ID cards in Europe for generations and we currently have a less fucked up and 'curious' state. Fight the establishment of a police state any which

    • If this stuff concerns you, you might want to join us. We stopped Real-ID, our DMV is required to honor our requests not to include our SSN, home address, or photo, and a zillion things more. Free State Project []
    • "When one looks inside of the home of people without their permisssion, it becomes permissible for them to gouge out his eye."

      "Were a man to look into your home/private property wihtout your permission, and were you to pelt him with pebbles and knock out his eye, there would be no sin upon you."
      (Bukhari & Muslim)

  • by fubarrr ( 884157 )

    All reactionaries are paper tigers.

  • Low tech similar (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In Myanmar, you're not allowed to travel from one province to another without written permission and a reason, even within just Myanmar free travel is restricted. The army is quite small, the people quite large in number, by dividing them geographically, it lets the military keep hold/track of a large populace with a small force.

    The divide and conquer strategy, divide people with divisive policies, set them fighting against each other at every opportunity, then take advantage of the division. Here it's geog

  • That doesn't seem very advanced to me. Advanced would be centralized scanning via a daemon installed on every phone, reporting back to the mothership periodically.
  • standard response (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @01:23PM (#55800815)

    China has turned Xinjiang, the Northwestern part of the country surrounding Urumqi, into one of the most advanced surveillance states in the world.

    Cue obligatory Slashdotters with standard response...

    "Yeah, well the USA is twenty-five times worse!!" 3, 2, 1...

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I'm in China at the moment. The Great Firewall is a real pain. Every network I connect to seems extent dodgy, with all sorts of weird inference. I usually use a VPN or Tor for all internet access, but here both are blocked.

  • []
    "The Transparent Society (1998) is a non-fiction book by the science-fiction author David Brin in which he forecasts social transparency and some degree of erosion of privacy, as it is overtaken by low-cost surveillance, communication and database technology, and proposes new institutions and practices that he believes would provide benefits that would more than compensate for lost privacy. The work first appeared as a magazine article by Brin in Wired in late 1996.[1] In 20

  • It sounds like 'the government has met the enemy, and it is us'.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Melania says Donald got a big hadron when he read this, so, thanks a lot.

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington